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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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On Thursday, Feb. 18, Axios hosted a conversation on the impact of local stimulus in Des Moines and the fallout of the 2020 Iowa caucuses, featuring Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Iowa Democratic Party chair and state Rep. Ross Wilburn.

Sen. Chuck Grassley discussed the Iowa caucuses in advance of the 2024 election, as well as the economic stimulus following the pandemic.

  • His response to some House members' calls to have a more diverse state caucus come first in the 2024 election: "Iowa will be first in the nation with the caucus, and I assure you that that's going to be the case because both the Democratic Party of Iowa and the Republican Party of Iowa want it there."
  • On wanting a more focused COVID-19 stimulus package: "We should target any checks that go out from the federal government to people like we have done twice already... that really have need."

Rep. Ross Wilburn similarly discussed Iowa's place in the run-up to the 2024 presidential election, as well decisions in the Iowa state legislature around the allocation of economic recovery funds.

  • On his view of why it's important for Iowa to be the first state to caucus: "Iowa plays a critical piece in terms of preparing our Democratic candidates for the national stage."
  • On focusing on small businesses in economic recovery: One of the things that we're trying to do in the House is to get access to a business recovery grant program that we're going to invest funds into, I believe, 5,000 small businesses."

Axios Vice President Mia Vallo hosted a View from the Top segment with East Village Spa owner Cassie Sampson and discussed how the small business community in Des Moines has come together in a period of crisis.

  • "I think the most important thing for me with the small business community here is to stay in touch with each other...So really reach out, lift each other up. We need each other and share ideas."

Thank you Facebook for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Iowa lawmakers say they'll "do whatever it takes" to stay first-in-nation caucus

Lawmakers who represent Iowa are already making the case to keep the state's first-in-the-nation caucus status ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

Why it matters: The renewed examination of Iowa's early status stems from Democratic party members' calls to have a more diverse state caucus ahead of the state — given the make up of the party electorate — and after a disastrous Democratic caucus in 2020.

Sen. Chuck Grassley wants a "more targeted" COVID relief package

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) wants the upcoming COVID stimulus package to be "more targeted," he said at an Axios event on Thursday.

Why it matters: Some Republicans have pushed back on President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief price tag, as Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) plans to use the reconciliation process — a simple 51-vote majority, rather than 60 votes — to pass the legislation.

Polk County to launch new rental assistance program

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

A major new rent assistance program will launch next week for Polk County residents who are struggling, Eric Kool, director of Polk's Community, Family and Youth Services told Axios.

The state of play: The Emergency Rental Assistance Program will be paid by a $14 million federal allocation to DSM and Polk County for pandemic relief. It's part of a larger $195 million relief package for Iowa.

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